Broadgate GP London
Private GP Walk In Clinic in the City of London: (+44) 020 7382 0505
Broadgate GP London
(+44) 020 7382 0505

65 London Wall, London, EC2M 5TU
Broadgate GP is a private medical clinic situated in the heart of the City of London. Same Day Walk In Clinic Services.

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Link Between UTIs and Sexual Health

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) can be incredibly uncomfortable and painful conditions. Particularly aggressive UTIs will require an antibiotic prescription to help clear it up, as well as drinking plenty of water. If you suspect you have a UTI you should visit your doctor immediately. However, what are the links between UTI’s, recurring UTIs and your Sexual Health?

Contracting A UTI

Bacteria present in the digestive system cause UTI’s. Most commonly they arise because the bacteria is spread from the anus to the urethra, the tube which urine comes out of. These bacteria will then cause the infection of the urethra. Sometimes this can be caused by toilet paper touching both areas, but this transfer of bacteria can also occur in sexual contact.

The infection can travel up the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder. In men it runs from the tip of the penis to the bladder. In women it runs from the bladder to between the vagina and clitoris. If the urethra becomes infected it is called urethritis. If the infection travels up the urethra to the bladder the infection is called cystitis. The infection can sometimes travel from the bladder up the ureters tubes into the kidneys. In this case the infection is called pyelonephritis.

UTI’s often occur in women when they have drunk a lot of alcohol and had a lot of sex. The infection occurs because alcohol in the bladder irritates the wall of the bladder from the inside. When intercourse occurs, if it is particularly prolonged or aggressive, or repetitive, it is irritating the bladder from the outside. In effect, your bladder is being aggravated on both sides and an infection is likely.

UTI’s And Contraceptives

If you are a woman and your preferred contraceptive are condoms combined with spermicide, you may find that you are more likely to contract a UTI, as spermicide can irritate the vagina and make it more vulnerable to infection, or even repeat infections.

Diaphragms are another form of contraceptive that can make women more susceptible to UTI’s, as a diaphragm can put pressure on the bladder and prevent it from emptying properly.

Women are also more likely to contract UTI’s than men because their urethra is shorter and closer to the anus. Sex can also irritate the urethra, allowing bacteria to travel through it more easily and into the bladder.

Recurring UTI’s

If you are pregnant or have HIV, you may need hospital treatment if you contract a recurring upper UTI. You can also have recurring UTI’s merely from having sex because of the irritation it can cause in the urethra. If this is thought to be the cause of your recurring UTI, you may be prescribed antibiotics to take after each time you have sex.

UTI’s can be incredibly uncomfortable and painful. If you suffer recurring UTI’s it may be advisable to discuss your contraceptive options with your local Sexual Health Clinic or GP to investigate what other options will minimise the likelihood of contracting recurring UTI’s.

If you would like more information about our sexual health clinic, don’t hesitate to contact us today on 020 7382 0505.

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The Importance of Regular Female Sexual Health Screening

For both men and women it is vitally important that you give sexual health due consideration. When adults are young it is easy to be cavalier about your attitude to sexual health because they are embarrassed about their body or because you are not aware of the health risks you expose yourself to with certain situations.

For women especially, sexual health is incredibly important, as pregnancy is a risk of every sexual encounter.

Pregnancy

For most women, pregnancy is something they will consider as an aspect of their life at some point. In teenage years most energy is spent avoiding pregnancy. In the West, it is not until their thirties that most women consider the impact of past sexual encounters on their bodies. However, any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that have been contracted in earlier years may have a huge implication in their ability to become pregnant. For example, Chlamydia is an STD that, if not diagnosed and treated in women, can result in infertility. This is just one of the many reasons why regular sexual health screening, and an early education in sexual health is important for women.

Contraceptives

Practicing a responsible and educated understanding of contraception is vital for a woman’s sexual health. This means having a plan for contraceptive, whether it is the contraceptive pill, the injection, the coil, condoms or hormonal implant. The contraceptives available to women are wide ranging and have a varying degree of protection from pregnancy, but only condoms and femidoms offer the most comprehensive protection from both pregnancy and STDs.

Different contraceptives have different consequences and will suit different people at different points in their life. The contraceptive pill is popular amongst young women, whereas women who have experienced pregnancy often opt for one of the different types of contraceptive coils (also known as IUDs).

For some women, the contraceptive pill and other hormonal contraceptives can prove difficult, as they interfere with the natural hormonal cycle. This is another reason why regular sexual health appointments are important, as hormones have a big impact on how you feel day to day. If you are on a pill that is not suitable for you, you may find you become depressed or wish to change the drugs you are putting into your body every day. Finding the right contraceptive choice for you is a delicate process that requires guidance from a medical professional.

Cervical Screening and Smear Tests

Cervical cancer is a risk for most women and can be prevented by regular cervical screenings, or ‘smear‘ tests. The process for collecting a sample has been simplified in the last ten years and is far less invasive than before. It is important all women make regular sexual health appointments with their GP so that their reproductive system is in the best possible condition, should they choose to have children one day.

There are a plethora of other sexual health issues that affect women, such as ectopic pregnancy, abortion and cysts, to name a few. These can all be monitored and advised upon with regular sexual health appointments.

Why You Must Visit Your Doctor On Return From Travel

If you have travelled to a foreign country for some time, it is important to consider your health both before and after your trip.

Many people travelling to exotic locations consider the importance of health precautions before departing, but often overlook the necessary follow up health check on their return. This is a common mistake that can often come at a high price in terms of your personal health.

Completing a Full Course of Prescribed Drugs

Many travellers who contract malaria do so because they have taken the anti-malarial drugs while in the malarial country or zone, but forget to complete the full prescription on their return to the UK, forgetting that the disease can be contracted up to seven days after departure from a malarial zone. Even anti-malarial drugs are not 100% effective against the disease, so a follow up health check is important, so your GP can give a comprehensive health check. 

Preventing the Spread of Contagious Diseases

Recent epidemics such as MHRA and Bird Flu show the importance of health checks after travel. These epidemics also show that it is not just travel to exotic locations that can be a danger. When you travel you are confined to a small space, be it an airplane, bus, boat or train, where you share the air with fellow passengers, and are exposed to plenty of opportunities for cross contamination by touching hand rails and door handles.

In order to minimise the potential of picking up and spreading disease, it is important to check the endemic or common diseases in your destination through research before you depart, and by vaccinating yourself against these before leaving.

While away, practice a high standard of hygiene by washing your hands at every available opportunity, especially before and after meals and toilet visits. Close the loop by ensuring you visit your GP or a medical professional on return from any trip. This will minimise any health risks to you or your family, friends and local community upon your return.    

Sexual Health

Another common form of exposure to disease is through any sexual contact you may have had while travelling. If you have intercourse while travelling it is important to use protection in the form of a contraceptive, such as condoms, which offer the best protection from disease. On continents such as Africa, HIV is prevalent. This been widely publicised, but there are a variety of other viral and non-viral infections you could pick up, such as Hepatitis C. Always be conscious to practice safe sex, and be responsible about your sexual health if your contraceptive fails.

In your post-travel health appointment, be completely honest about anything you have engaged in that has health risk implications, such as drug use or sexual intercourse, so that your GP can best understand what health risks you may be subject to and prescribe the most appropriate treatment to protect your health. 

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